CAS has submitted evidence on food parcels to the Welfare Reform Committee ahead of an oral evidence session on the 29th April 2014.
This briefing looks at whether benefit changes are a factor in the growing need for food parcels seen at bureaux. Statistics show that in January to March 2014, bureaux recorded 1 food bank issue for every 34 clients that sought advice. The immediacy and severity of the situation facing many clients is putting significant pressure on bureaux and their volunteers. Bureaux across the country have had to urgently amend their advice provision and make vital links with local sources of free food in order to meet the immediate needs of clients who cannot afford to eat.
Case evidence from bureaux shows that a range of issues in the benefits system, including payment delays, sanctions and benefit reassessments, play a role in causing clients to require a food parcel. While benefits were the main causative factor in food parcel need, a number of other issues, such as payday loans and zero hours contracts, cause those in employment to need support in the form of food parcels